Friday, September 14, 2012

Billy Joel Was Right

Looks like Billy Joel was right all along.  Working too hard actually can give you a heart attack.

A recent study found that too much work-related stress, especially when workers have little to no control over their stress levels (like retail workers), can raise the risk of a heart attack by 23%.  This risk persisted even after other variables such as lifestyle were controlled for.  While it does not completely prove causation, this study is quite reliable since it combines the results of 13 prospective cohort studies and adjusts for several confounders.  Another recent study found that working more than eight hours a day may raise the risk of heart disease by as much as 40-80%.  Thus, it's really not all that surprising that New York City and its surrounding suburbs have some of the highest death rates from heart disease in the nation, and also that the USA tends to be worse than other developed nations in this regard.

Of course, it's mainly the bottom 99% of Americans that are likely to be affected, but that does not make the top 1% completely immune.  And next time someone claims that raising marginal tax rates or some other policy will cause at least some workers not to work as hard as they otherwise would, remind them of these studies.  The life you save may be your own.

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